The Zoologist/4th series, vol 5 (1901)/Issue 722/Notices of New Books

Notices of New Books  (August, 1901) 
editor W.L. Distant


Cambridge Natural History. Vol. VIII. Amphibia and Reptiles. By Hans Gadow, M.A., Ph.D., &c.Macmillan & Co., Limited.

This is a very welcome addition to the naturalist's library. In a general way the subject has been treated in the different serial zoological publications which have appeared during late years, but then the limit of space has been defined by the publisher rather than the limits of the subject by its author, while now a volume of some 650 pages has been devoted to it.

Dr. Gadow has done his work very thoroughly, and one very prominent and useful feature is to be found in the outline maps, which give at a glance the distribution of the larger groups and families. It is abundantly evident that this method is far clearer and much more convincing to the reader than a verbal enumeration of zoo-geographical provinces and regions, which are now no longer uniform in use and description. Thus when we come to the Frogs (Ranidæ) a glance at the map at once shows the startling fact to the uninitiated that practically none are found in Australia, and that they are also absent from the larger and southern portion of South America. We are also glad to see the correction of some popular and unexpected errors. We have all read and re-read Wallace's charming 'Malay Archipelago,' which has even a greater charm to those who have visited the region, and we well remember the account and figure of the Bornean "Flying Frog" (Racophorus pardalis). Specimens from Wallace's collection are in the British Museum, and it appears that the dimensions have been incorrectly given. It now appears that instead of the webs of all the feet together measuring about twelve square inches, they only measure three square inches. "By some unfortunate oversight Wallace must have mixed up the total expanded area with that of the four hands and feet."

In this publication the subjects are not restricted to "living animals," and the Dinosauria receive fuller treatment than that of the usual inscription on a zoological tombstone. We are no longer living in a Reptilian age, the sun of which has probably set for ever so far as this planet is concerned; and the practice has been too much to neglect the dead giants of the past in describing the living pigmies of the present. Dr. Gadow has not followed this unfortunate method of obscuration. We notice in respect to the "Snake-eating Cobra" (Ophiophagus elaps), it is stated that it reaches the enormous length, for a poisonous snake, of twelve feet or more. In 'The Zoologist' for 1875 (p. 4625) will be found the record of one brought from the Malay Peninsula, which was measured by Dr. Günther, and attained a length of 13 ft. 2 in.

This is really a book for reference, and maintains the high character of the series. The illustrations are excellent, and the drawings on wood have been, with few exceptions, made by Miss Durham, mostly from living specimens.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1927.

The author died in 1922, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 99 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.